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WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Women need to get recommended Pap tests, while girls and young women should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) to protect them from cervical cancer, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises during Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Cervical cancer kills more than 4,000 women in the United States each year. Many of them could have been saved by routine Pap tests, which look for abnormal cells in the cervix that can turn into cancer. When caught early, those abnormal cells are highly treatable, according to the college.
Women can help protect themselves against cervical cancer by being monogamous, practicing safe sex and getting periodic Pap tests. In addition, girls and young women aged 9 to 26 should receive the HPV vaccine, the college recommends.
A young women should get her first Pap test when she turns 21 and continue having a Pap test every two years until age 30. Women age 30 and beyond who have three consecutive negative Pap test results can be screened once every three years, the college says.
-- Robert Preidt
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